Category: Beliefs


Jesus didn’t die on the cross. He was born of a virgin, but he isn’t the son of God. He did not redeem the sins of humankind. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead. He spoke complete sentences even as an infant in t

Tuerkei, Istanbul, Hagia Sophia, 

he cradle, announcing to his mother, Mary, that God had granted him the scripture and made him a prophet. Jesus is neither almighty nor eternal. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is a Muslim.

This is the Jesus of the Koran. Ninety-three of its verses refer to him—more than any other prophet save Muhammad—and the Koranic account of Jesus’ life harmonizes with the Gospels in more particulars than even many Muslims realize. My wife is a Muslim with years of madrassa education behind her, but when I mentioned Jesus’ virgin birth to her she was skeptical. “Does the Koran really say that?” she asked. I started to look it up, but five seconds later she waved me off. “Don’t bother,” she said, “I found it on Wikipedia.” And so it was written.


With Easter on the way, I became curious about what the Koran has to say about the crucifixion. I called an imam I know, Ibrahim Sayar, and we got together over glasses of Turkish tea. Sayar does a lot of interfaith work, much of which involves getting people from different religions together to eat kebabs. In the company of Christians, he said, mentioning the status of Jesus in Islam can be a great icebreaker. “I always tell people, there are millions of Muslims named after Jesus and Mary—we call them Isa and Mariam,” he said. “Nobody names their children after someone they don’t like.”

In Islam, he emphasized, “believing in Jesus is an absolute requirement. If you don’t believe in him, you’re automatically not a Muslim.” According to the hadith—sayings of the Prophet, second only to the Koran in Islamic authority—Jesus was assumed into heaven, and will return at the end of time in the east of Damascus, his hands resting on the shoulders of two angels. When it sees him, the Antichrist will dissolve like salt in water, and Jesus will rule the earth for forty years. What Muslims don’t believe, though, is that Jesus died on the cross. It’s spelled out quite clearly, Sayar said, in the Koran’s fourth Sura, verse 157: “They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him.”

The Bible is considered a holy book in Islam. How then, I asked, can this verse in the Koran be reconciled with the accounts of Jesus’ death in the Gospels? Sayar said the key is in the phrase that follows “nor did they crucify him”: “though it was made to look like that to them.” Muslim scholars, he explained, interpret this passage in a range of ways. Some believe that someone was, in fact, crucified, but it was not Jesus; maybe it was Judas. Whoever it was, they say, God changed his face to resemble Jesus, and Jesus himself was spared. A slight variation posits that God changed the vision of all those who witnessed the crucifixion to make them think they were seeing Jesus. Others argue that it wasJesus who was nailed to the cross, but that he survived it; what happened on Easter Sunday was not a resurrection but a resuscitation. Some say that no one was crucified at all. “Of course,” Sayar said, “they all have their own proofs.”

For Muslims, the specifics of the crucifixion are largely academic. The disagreement between Christians and Muslims on the nature of Jesus, though, is fundamental, no matter how many ways their understanding of him may correspond. To Muslims, Jesus is not, and could not possibly be, divine. He is a prophet but he’s still a mortal, and God is not his father. “I understand that if you believe someone to be God, and others say he’s not God, it’s like an insult,” Sayar said. “But if you look at it from the Muslim perspective, there’s no difference between Jesus, Abraham, Mohammed.” The Koran mentions twenty-five prophets, and nearly all of them are familiar from the Bible: Adam and Noah, Moses and Abraham, David and Solomon, Lot and Job, John the Baptist. “They’re all messengers,” Sayar said. But to Christians, the message of Jesus is inseparable from his crucifixion and resurrection.

When Muslims and Christians meet, Sayer said, the Jesus connection can only take them so far. Getting into a deep conversation about exactly what happened to the Jesus in the Gospels versus the Jesus in the Koran only ends up emphasizing the gulf. “We try to learn from each other as we are,” Sayar said. “We are not doing this for the afterlife. We are doing it for this life. In the afterlife we’ll see anyway who is wrong, who is right, what is Jesus—we will learn everything there.” Until that time comes, it might be best to focus on the kebabs.


This Article is written by Author Rollo Romig in in 2012


Whirling Dervish

One day when Prophet (s) was giving a Friday sermon, a Bedouin came and said, “Ya RasulAllah (s), when will the Day of Judgement occur?” Prophet (s) did not answer the Bedouin and remained silent for some time. So the Bedouin asked again, but again Prophet (s) did not answer. After a period of time the Bedouin asked his question for a third time. Immediately, the Angel Gabriel appeared before the
 Holy Prophet (s) and said, “Ask him what has he prepared for that day?’
The Bedouin replied “Nothing except my love for you, oh beloved Prophet of God (s)!!” Prophet (s) then answered, “you will be with those whom you love.” Upon hearing this conversation, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq asked the Holy Prophet (s),
 Will love alone suffice?
Prophet (s) then said, “Yes. The main thing is love!” Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was so happy with this answer that he began to whirl. [ The Opening of the Siddiqia Secret of Love ]
According to the teachings of our Master, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (may God bless him and raise his spiritual station higher), the Sufi whirling technique which was taught by the famous Sufi Master Muhammad Jalal ad-Din Rumi (qs) contains tremendous realities. The first interaction that many Western people have with Sufism is often through the poetry of Rumi, a poetry which sought to explain a Heavenly love which flowered in his soul, and what our Master wants us to realize is that while this poetry is nice to read, the “sema” or the practice of whirling is a technique which can actually open that love, which is what Rumi is trying to encourage people to do through his poetry. Rumi was saying in his poetry, “seek the beloved!” and the question comes to us, “how do I seek Him?” It means that the poetry of love and Divine attraction is first rooted in the whirling and what was trying to be taught by the whirling. We are a micro version of this greater galaxy. Therefore, in order to understand this greater reality we are taught to look within and understand ourselves. As God says in the Holy Quran:
We will show them our signs on the horizon and within themselves, until it will be manifest to them that it is the truth.” (41: 53)

Eagle as a Symbol in Iqbal’s Poetry

The remarkable strength and courage of the eagle have inspired mankind throughout the ages. In ancient times the battles between the sun and the clouds were considered as battles between an eagle and a serpent and the eagle was held in awe and worshiped for its majestic figure and superb qualities. Because of their strength, eagles have been a mark of war and imperial power since Babylonian times. In Assyrian myths the eagle was the symbol of storms and lightning and the god who carried souls to Hades.

In India and Babylon the eagle was the symbol of fire, wind and storms, and regarded as the messenger of immortality. In the Golden Age of Greece, it was the emblem of victory and supreme spiritual energy. The eagle was the sacred bird of Zeus, the ruler of all gods. The Greeks represented eagles with wings outstretched, holding a serpent in their claws, which signified the triumph of good over evil. In Rome, an eagle was the symbol of Jupiter, the supreme god. For the Romans the eagle was the sign of victory. As Roman legions conquered the world, they marched under the standard of the eagle, with outstretched wings.

It was the only bird believed to be capable of staring at the sun, which mythology held to be the light of God. Eagle was the personal emblem of the Caesars who represented supreme authority. Afterwords, in the Middle Ages, it became the symbol of Germany. Hunting with an eagle was an outstanding sport in Europe but it was permissible only for the kings and monarchs. The rise of Christianity brought still more honor and dignity for the eagles. To the early Christians, the eagle was the symbol of the Ascension. In the early nineteenth century, French troops under Napoleon conquered Europe under the symbol of the eagle.

There is no denying the fact that the eagle upholds its grandeur and stateliness even in the modern times. With its acute eyesight, the eagle has come to embody an all-seeing EYE. The eagle is often a solar symbol, and is generally linked to all sky gods. It signifies inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride, agility and royalty; it is often an emblem for powerful nations. Since it lives in full light of the sun, it is considered luminous and shares characteristics with air and fire The Roman, French, Austrian, German, and American peoples have all adopted this image as their symbol. Through its detachment from earth it represents spirit and soul. Dante calls the eagle as ‘bird of God’. Being a symbol of power and authority, it retains a prominent place in America as was in ancient Rome. In American culture, the eagle is a symbol of great courage, strength and freedom. The emblems of the President, Vice President, several members of the Cabinet, and most branches of the armed forces center on the eagle. The Apollo 11 crew chose “Eagle” as the name for the first lunar landing module. Man was on the moon with the words of Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong: “Houston, Tranquility Base here — The Eagle has landed”.

In 1911, following a tradition as old as man himself, the Boy Scouts of America chose the eagle to symbolize the highest achievement. In short, since the beginning of time, man has been using the eagle as a symbol of power, victory, authority, royalty and valor. And throughout the history, the eagle is profoundly associated with man’s triumph, valor and victory.

The qualities that are attributed to a symbol may or may not be realistic or accurate. But in any case, a symbol is chosen to represent qualities or characteristics that in some sense are expressions of the ideals of that culture. Because of its large size, nomadic lifestyle, striking visage, and graceful flight, the eagle has symbolized great power, strength, freedom, elegance, and independence to many cultures throughout history. So an Eagle stands for a nation or a person who soars to the highest realms of truth and knows no fear and no bounds of time and space. It is the